Should You Contact A Former Employer After An Internship?
By Pira Kumarasamy
The college and university year is coming to a close, and that means students across the country will be vying for the best internships and looking to put their education and skills into practice. Internships can be a very effective way to build a resume, and for many students it’s the first ‘real world’ experience they have the opportunity to boast. What may not be as obvious, however, is that what they do after the internship is just as important as securing the internship in the first place.
Students must be strategic in how they choose to leverage their internships, and there are several ways to build lasting relationships with their employers and make the most out of their experiences.
Ask for a reference
This may seem obvious, but asking for a reference is an important takeaway from an internship and worth mentioning – and how you ask is just as important. When it comes to asking your former boss for a reference for a specific job, let them know the job title and also what the job entails – specifically the skills they are looking for. This will help them give a reference that is targeted to the job you’ve applied for and help you land the job.
Offer continued services
If you’re able to continue in a limited capacity once your internship is up, let your boss know. Otherwise, keep updated on what’s happening within the company, and reach out if you see an opportunity to help. This could mean volunteering for an event, helping to write content or providing temporary support in another way.
Start a chain of introductions
If you intern in an industry where you’d like to work in the future, ask your boss to introduce you to one or two other people in the industry. Ask each person you meet to introduce you to one or two more people. At this stage in your career, building your network is crucial, and an internship is a good place to start.
Check in regularly
Make it a goal to check in with your boss a few times a year. This could mean asking them to meet for coffee to catch up and discuss your career, or even something as simple as sending a card during the holidays or sending a note on their birthday. Taking the time to keep in touch will be appreciated – especially when it comes time to asking for a reference or another introduction.
Stay social on social
The digital age has made it easier than ever to stay in touch. From an employee standpoint, this means the opportunity to show your industry knowledge and share messages from former employers. Be sure to utilize your social networks by regularly posting relevant information on your industry. Support your former employer and remain top-of-mind by ‘liking’ and ‘sharing’ their company updates.
An internship may be a short stint, but you never know where it can lead. Cultivate your network by extending your relationships beyond. It is one of the best ways to increase your chances of securing future opportunities.